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©Arach’ Pictures – Najim Chaoui 

Musique d'art (2023)

four violas, two cellos and double bass —  55-minute concert

Simon Martin continues his fascinating exploration of natural harmony with his new work, Musique d’art (2023). This 55-minute sound fresco for seven string instruments is a high point in the Quebec composer’s career, as he enthusiastically states: “I feel that this work sums up everything I have learned to do in recent years, performed by the most impressive musical group I have assembled to date… The sound is fantastic!

To create his mesmerizing and hypnotic works, Simon Martin uses the coordination of sound vibrations inherent in natural harmony to create an unprecedented resonance of acoustic instruments.

Composer's note

With Musique d’art (2023), I wanted to take advantage of the experience I have gained over the last few years in the field of natural harmony and simply have fun reaping the benefits.

I first asked myself what musical training would best meet my needs in general. I chose an ensemble of seven musicians, with a base, the double bass, on which are based three desks, that is to say pairs of musicians whose score is almost identical. This formation makes it possible to create four-voice harmonies with unison doublings on the three desks, which gives volume to the sound of the strings. The unisons between two voices can shift slightly in time and create diffraction effects, up to seven-part harmonies at times.

Then I identified the materials that would be best performed by the chosen instruments and limited myself to them: harmonies anchored to the open strings, linked by simple tonal relationships, which is reflected in the readability of the score. In the same vein, the presence of a conductor maximizes the potential for precision in the interpretation.

Finally, I poured the material into the instrument like fuel into a new high-performance car: with only a few days to go before the first rehearsals, I had rarely been so excited at the idea of hearing my music start for the first time!

Simon Martin


Composition : Simon Martin

Performers :

    • Cristian Gort, chef
    • Cynthia Blanchon, viola
    • Onyou Lee, viola
    • Marie-Lise Ouellet, viola
    • Jean René, viola
    • Pierre-Alain Bouvrette, cello
    • Audréanne Filion, cello
    • Samuel-San Vachon, double bass


05.03.2023 festival Montréal / Nouvelles Musiques | Conservatoire de Montréal, 4750 Av. Henri-Julien, Montréal, QC H2T 2C8

Photos by Arach’ Pictures – Najim Chaoui, 2023